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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Will this be deep under water in a few years?

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Around 50 people gathered on Friday morning at the big fig tree near the Condong sugar mill to join the world-wide #Bigbadbiomass protest against the use of biomass to create energy and to emphasise that burning biomass is not ‘environmentally friendly’.

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Area to be impacted by proposed Dunoon Dam. Photo David Lowe.

Tomorrow morning Rous County Council will be holding a special meeting to decide whether to extend the public comment period on the Rous Future Water Project 2060.

The centrepiece of the project is a large new dam to be built on Rocky Creek between Dunoon and The Channon, to supply water to the four Shires of Byron, Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley.

Photos below show the area around the proposed dam wall, less than a kilometre away from the Rocky Creek crossing near Coronation Park, where the Channon Market is held, as well as a number of signs put up by locals who are opposed to the dam.

Yesterday Echonetdaily spoke to people from immediately neighbouring properties, who are alarmed and anxious about the dam plans, which they thought had been abandoned some years ago.

A community action meeting was held in The Channon last weekend, and an information stall is planned for the Channon Market this Sunday.

Rous County Council is inviting public feedback on the Future Water Project 2060, which you can make here.

Photos David Lowe

More stories about the Dunoon Dam

No means no, say traditional owners

As Water Week draws to a close, with a theme of 'Caring for Water and Country', a group of Widjabul Wia-bal elders have emphatically said they do not want the Dunoon Dam proposal to be put back on the table by pro-dam councillors.


Cultural heritage report goes public

A redacted copy of the 2013 Ainsworth Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment document has been made publicly available on the Rous County Council website, clarifying the extensive Widjabul-Wiabul connections with the land which would have been inundated by the Dunoon Dam.


Rous County Council Crs Cadwallader and Williams at loggerheads over Dunoon...

The Council elections are coming in December and the issue of water security has become a key issue for Ballina Shire Councillors as Mayoral candidates Cr Sharon Cadwallader and Cr Keith Williams. Both Ballina councillors are representatives on the Rous...


Ballina mayor hopeful loses bid for independent water science team a...

Cr Cadwallader's second version of the motion came with an extra suggestion referring directly to the dumped option of a new hinterland dam in Dunoon.


Cadwallader determined to win support for new water science team as...

Cr Cadwallader has taken advantage of a local government rule allowing councillors to reintroduce a failed motion without having to wait three months if they have the signed support of at least two other councillors.


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  1. Here is what you do. You come up from Sydeny Harbour because of too many people there in Sydney.
    Then you set to in this little harbour of the environment and build a Sydney Harbour here because you have to go to water. Councils go to water here.
    Then you have a Sydney Harbour here and then you set to, to import all the people from Sydney to drink the water here, and before long you need another dam besides these two as you have 5 million people to feed. Where is the next dam going to go after the Dunoon dam in the next decade?

  2. We love our precious natural environment here , and these areas of quiet beauty are well worth preserving. They are why visitors as well as us locals are attracted to this country in the first place.
    We must not allow any further destruction of nature.

  3. The lower half of the proposed Dunoon Dam inundation area is Sandstone country & it is unsuitable for a Dam regardless of it’s value as conservation of Native habitat, Indigenous Heritage or anything else. The site choice is inconceivable.

  4. The most recent NSW Planning population projection is 12,720 more people in the four council areas supplied by Rous by 2060. This does not justify building a huge 50GL $220 million dam when demand management could solve water supply much more cheaply with far less disruption.

    This dam is a big white elephant. It will cost us a lot of money without enough population growth to warrant the scale or cost. The money could be much better spent on smart alternatives like demand management.

  5. Water Husbandry –

    water is required for household dwellings, industry, farming and numerous other sectors of the broader community.
    Currently: some households have potable water and some have water from other sources. We do not have enough water to supply current? Households or projected? Increase in household numbers.

    Solution (one of):
    Town planning (and this may be done to an extent already), could incorporate water storage from roofs (rooves), as a priority and a serious addition to any future design of new builds, not a small space squeezed in between buildings which happens to suit a slimline tank.
    Secondly, energy could be given for adequate, rather than an ad hoc, retrofitting of tanks. Every household should not only have one but have the knowledge of how to look after their supply.
    Space could be given, not just for storage/tanks but for accessIng water systems infrastructure; roof, gutters, pumps, pipes, etc.

    Whilst the above would not be enough to negate the need for a larger dam, if more responsibility for water use was given to households, it may reduce the need for such a large dam or allow time to perhaps entertain the idea of water being sourced from future away. Or to even assess, what this use may be in volume of water that can be utilised as non-potable water.

    In my experience water, storage tanks and water infrastructure is an area that requires a serious commitment from the organisation that utilised it. That is, households, manufacturing, farms etc.
    Just a thought


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